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Linx building on business success

| May 1, 2014
An artist's impression of the new Linx headquarters.

An artist’s impression of the new Linx headquarters.

U.K.-based coding and marking specialist Linx Printing Technologies has started construction of a purpose-built headquarters in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire. The company plans to transfer from its existing premises during spring next year.

The major development at Compass Point Business Park will consolidate the separate buildings currently occupied by Linx’s various operations in St. Ives into a single facility employing 250 people.

The 41,000-square-foot building will house the company’s research and development laboratories, sales and administration offices, manufacturing and assembly lines, and storage and distribution areas, along with dedicated customer training facilities.

“Established in 1987, Linx has grown to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial printers for coding and marking of packaging and products, with a range of market-leading equipment including continuous ink jet (CIJ) printers, case coders, laser coders, thermal transfer printers and thermal inkjet printers,” the company said in a press note issued on Tuesday. “Through its extensive distributor network, the company is represented in over 90 countries worldwide, including the major markets of Europe, North and South America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.”

Linx’s managing director Nigel Hood said the new building underlined the company’s confidence in its continued growth and development. “Even during these recent troubled economic times, Linx has performed well, demonstrating that there is still demand for innovative and reliable equipment that meets the needs of all types of manufacturing operations,” he was quoted as saying.

“Our new facility will enable us to build even further on this success, with state-of-the art product development, manufacturing, training and service facilities that will allow us to compete at the highest level in our global markets.”

PMI to webcast shareholder meeting

| May 1, 2014

Philip Morris International is due to host a live audio webcast of its 2014 annual meeting of shareholders at www.pmi.com/webcasts, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 7. The webcast will be in listen-only mode.

During the meeting, Louis C. Camilleri, chairman of the board, will address shareholders and answer questions. André Calantzopoulos, CEO, will give the business presentation.

An archived copy of the webcast will be available until 5 p.m. on June 5 at www.pmi.com/webcasts.

Presentation slides and script will be available at www.pmi.com.

Reemtsma honors investigative journalist

| May 1, 2014

Germany Imperial pic2Journalist Susanne Koelbl (pictured) has been honored with the 2014 Reemtsma Liberty Award for her investigative reports from Syria and North Korea.

Now in its eighth year, the award, presented by Imperial Tobacco’s German subsidiary, recognizes foreign correspondents “working to sustain freedom of the press under harsh conditions.”

This year’s keynote speech was given by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who rose to prominence with reports on global surveillance based on classified material disclosed by Edward Snowden.

The decision to honour Koelbl was made by a jury of prominent German journalists and media experts.

Koelbl, a journalist with the leading German magazine Der Spiegel, won praise from the jury for her “insights into the power structures of dictatorships.”

The award was presented by Titus Wouda Kuipers, director Division Profit North, at a gala ceremony in Berlin attended by about 600 guests.

BAT’s 1Q volume down by 1 percent

| April 30, 2014

British American Tobacco’s cigarette volume during the three months to the end of March, at 158 billion, was down by 1 percent on that of the first quarter of 2013, 160 billion.

Volumes increased from 48 billion to 50 billion in the company’s Asia Pacific region, but fell in its other regions: from 32 billion to 31 billion in its Americas region; from 54 billion to 53 billion in its Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region; and from 26 billion to 24 billion in its Western Europe region.

According to an interim management statement issued today, BAT’s five global drive brands recorded a volume increase of 6.3 percent, with their combined market share growing strongly in the group’s key markets. “Dunhill volume increased by 4.1 percent, with good growth in Indonesia and Brazil, partially offset by market decline in Malaysia,” the company said.

“Kent was 1.6 percent higher, driven by Japan and the Middle East, partially offset by market decline in Russia.

“Lucky Strike volume was down by 1 percent, with increases in Russia and Spain more than offset by decreases in Chile, Germany and Poland.

“Pall Mall was up by 6.9 percent as a result of growth in Pakistan, Chile, South Africa, Argentina and Mexico, partially offset by declines in Russia and Italy.

“Rothmans grew by 27.6 percent with strong performances in Russia, Italy and Ukraine, partially offset by decline in Egypt.”

Meanwhile, the company’s total tobacco volume, including the volume of other tobacco products calculated as cigarette stick equivalents, fell by 1.1 percent from 166 billion to 164 billion.

Fine-cut volume was down by 2.9 percent because of market declines in Western Europe, mainly Italy, Spain and France, partially offset by growth in Germany and Belgium.

But Pall Mall and Lucky Strike fine-cut volumes were said to have grown.

Group revenue for the three months to the end of March, at constant rates of exchange, grew by 2 percent on that of the three months to the end of March 2013, reflecting lower volume and the timing of price increases.

At current exchange rates, revenue declined by 12 percent, as movements in the majority of the group’s key trading currencies adversely impacted reported revenue.

“This is a good underlying performance, underpinned by an improving trend in volume,” said Nicandro Durante, chief executive.

“We have grown revenue at constant rates of exchange and our pricing remains on track.

“Our market share continued to grow, driven by the strength of our global drive brands.

“Although foreign exchange remains an issue for reported results, it is a good start to the year. I remain confident of delivering consistent growth in earnings in constant currency terms, which we will recognize with an increase in the dividend.”

JTI calls for clarity on TPD provisions

| April 30, 2014

While criticizing strongly some of the provisions contained in the EU’s new Tobacco Products Directive, Japan Tobacco International has appealed for clarity so that tobacco industry businesses can comply with the complex and costly changes that have to be made in the short timeframe allowed.

“These regulations are wide-ranging and restrict the way products are made, packaged and sold,” said Ben Townsend, head of JTI’s EU Affairs Office.

“They will have a huge impact on millions of legitimate businesses across the EU, from farmers to packaging manufacturers, and tobacco producers to retailers. “Given the very short timelines and costly changes required, clarity must now be given on the multiple measures contained in the TPD and subsequent implementation and delegated acts.”

“Make no mistake: These regulations will not achieve the public health benefits that law-makers have claimed.

“Legitimate businesses will suffer as excessive packaging requirements and banning entire product categories will benefit international criminal networks who will fill this supply gap.”

Directive 2014/40/EU of April 3, 2014, on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the member states concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products, was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on April 29. It repeals Directive 2001/37/EC.

The new directive is due to enter into force on May 20, and member states are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive by May 20, 2016. However, member states may allow tobacco products, which are not in compliance with the new directive but which are manufactured in accordance with the previous directive and distributed before May 20, 2016, to be placed on the market until May 20, 2017.

The directive is at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2014:127:TOC.

It might seem obvious but not to the FDA

| April 30, 2014

A leading health expert has expressed dismay that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is unsure whether smoking tobacco cigarettes is any more hazardous than is vaping e-cigarettes.

Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, said on Monday that the most damaging revelation in the FDA’s proposed deeming regulations was the fact that the agency was not sure that smoking was any more hazardous than vaping.

“This is worth repeating: The nation’s federal regulatory agency with jurisdiction over cigarettes is not sure that smoking—which kills more than 400,000 Americans each year—is any more dangerous than vaping, which involves no tobacco and no combustion and has not been shown to cause any harm,” he wrote on his blog.

“The FDA is not convinced that inhaling nicotine plus tens of thousands of chemicals and more than 60 known human carcinogens is any worse than inhaling nicotine plus propylene glycol and low levels of a few other chemicals.”

Siegel’s full blog is at http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/federal-agency-that-regulates.html.

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